Artificial intelligence (AI) is overtaking our human ability to absorb and process information. Robots are becoming increasingly dexterous, flexible, and safe to be around (except the military ones). AI is our most powerful technology, and you need to understand it.
This new book from best-selling author Calum Chace argues that within a few decades, most humans will not be able to work for money. Self-driving cars will probably be the canary in the coal mine, providing a wake-up call for everyone who isn't yet paying attention. All jobs will be affected, from fast food McJobs to lawyers and journalists. This is the single most important development facing humanity in the first half of the 21st century.
The fashionable belief that universal basic income is the solution is only partly correct. We are probably going to need an entirely new economic system, and we better start planning soon - for the economic singularity!
The outcome can be very good; a world in which machines do all the boring jobs and humans do pretty much what they please. But there are major risks, which we can only avoid by being alert to the possible futures and planning how to avoid the negative ones.
©2016 Calum Chace (P)2016 Calum Chace
"Read The Economic Singularity if you want to think intelligently about the future." (Aubrey de Grey)
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"What will happen when humans become obsolete?"
"The arrival of machine intelligence is also the arrival of a different kind of automation which spells the end of paid work for many or most people." ---Calum Chace
A concise, mostly accessible introduction to this topic that occasionally veers into dry text, or jargon-laden vocabulary (I almost gave up while reading sections in Chapter 3, but I'm so glad I didn't!) A bleak, frightening look into a likely future that is on the horizon. What happens when automation becomes so sophisticated (and cheaper, faster, and better) that it eliminates or fundamentally changes most of the jobs normally reserved for humans? We're not talking about low-level, physically repetitive jobs (these have already become automated: manufacturing, agriculture, some banking transactions), but all jobs throughout our society: lawyers, accounting, architects, journalists, doctors and nurses, financial consultants, teachers, TV presenters, bankers, psychiatrists, political speechwriters, etc., etc. It is not a question of if, but when, this will happen, and how quickly. Can society adapt on this scale by inventing new jobs to replace all the ones that are lost to technology? (the author is somewhat pessimistic on this score) Will the 1% that owns the A.I. help in "sharing the wealth?" (have they ever?) Will our society become a small elite of of tech gods, with the rest of us labeled as useless dead weight, struggling to eke out an impoverished existence without jobs or salaries?
To be fair, the author goes out of his way to present both sides of this issue, from "don't worry; be happy. Humans are adaptable during times of changing technologies" to "The Robots are coming! The Robots are coming!" He sites experts who claim we will live in a utopia (no work!) to ones who see a dystopian future (no money!). He does not argue that these trends toward mass automation will not come to pass; he wonders how humanity will cope/won't cope with this transition----and when: now or when the crisis is upon us.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from AudiobookBoom in exchange for an unbiased review. No robots were directly involved in the writing of this review.
First they came for the fast food workers, and I did not speak out - because I was not a fast food worker;
Then they came for the teachers, and I did not speak out - because I was not a teacher;
Then they came for the accountants, and I did not speak out - because I was not an accountant;
Then they came for the doctors, and I did not speak out - because I was not a doctor;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.
"Automation threatening Jobs. What will AI do?"
"Predictions are very difficult, specially about the future" That said, Calum Chase makes a courages effort in predicting the effects of automation and AI on skilled jobs and the future of employment and the economy.
The author, sets assumptions and guides us through possible outcomes for the implications of AI displacing most of what are currently considered skilled jobs, even those considered safe from automation. Providing unbiased predictions from experts at both sides of the spectrum it is clear substantially less people will have jobs. While doctors and lawyers may still be needed, their jobs will change to supervising and analysing recommendations made by AI.
How this will impact society, and the global economics will depend on a future of scarcity or over-abundance. Either way, the current system is not prepared, and will have to change drastically to accommodate what will be a pandemic of purposeless and hopeless majority who will not be able to compete against Artificial Intelligence.
Good Book, recommended to those that want reasonable predictions on reasonable assumptions.
"One Way the Future Could Roll"
Interesting ideas. Can lead to some excellent discussion. I did find it however, extremely Euro-Anglo-American-centric. There was no consideration of particularly third world population dynamics and the political impacts that may/will have. Also, highly focused on the technology to achieve the 'unemployability of most of the human race' and discussion of the implementation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).
I felt the author failed to adequately address the larger moral and psychological issues. And a machine will NEVER have a soul. Author seemed to assume that all but the less than 10% who may descend into unhealthy addictions, will be perfectly content to just exist in their virtual reality chairs doing whatever self-absorbed activity they desire having no ability or desire to pursue anything better. Personally, I don't accept that. Perhaps it's time to reconsider distributism.
I do think the narrator did an excellent job. Appropriately smooth and kept me going.
Perhaps a read of C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength is worth considering or enjoy watching WALL-E to see what may happen to multi-generational couch potatoes.
"Enlightening, entertaining, thought provoking!"
Among the nonfiction books on technology it's at the top.
The speculations, issues and projections in this book were so thought provoking I actually had to stop listening occasionally and think about what I just heard. Written in clear understandable language and narrated by the easy-to-listen-to Joe Hempel, this book is almost mandatory reading for anyone moving into the future, meaning, everybody! I was given a free copy of the audio book for an honest review. I'm pretty sure I would have bought this book anyway because the subject interests me and Joe Hempel rocks as a narrator.
His narration is extremely easy to listen to and follow, he never sounds boring, and his inflection makes all the content clear and understandable. He would be the best science teacher ever, the kind that everyone would want as their teacher.
No, it was too densely packed with ideas and concepts to take in all at once. It was not overly technical at all, but the economic implications of soon-to-be technology, the effect on jobs, income, education, and life style were awesome to think about.
For anyone interested in the what the near future and the more distant future will bring, who has a job that could be replaced by mechanical intelligence, or who has children that will need to prepare for the times to come, this book is a must read.
This piece of work was more focused than his previous work. This book was more practical and pointed then the other book; maybe it was because the discussed items directly impact me. It is more directed at economics and AI whereas the previous book was covering a broader set of material.
"Bravo. This is an adept handling of this subject."
Why would you read a book when you can have someone read it too you:)
Peek Horse, is an important concept that should give everyone pause. As it has to be reiterated time and time again, past performance is not proof of future performance.
A great reader, easy to listen to for hours.
"Artificial intelligence is anything a computer can't do." Some people might call that moving the goal post.
Of all his books I have listen too this is his best yet, and I am delighted I can give it a glowing review, I feel he has really developed as a writer, his voice and passion for the subject are clear, and the dedication to getting it right is evident in his adept handling of this subject. If you are knew to the subject this is a must read. If you want another lucid perspective on this important subject this is a must read.
"Peek Human, A Fantastically Terrible Outcome?"
Wow, where do I begin in reviewing this book? In general, I want to say up front that this book was much more enjoyable for me then the author’s other work I read called “Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence”. Not to say that book was bad in any way, but I felt this piece of work was more focused and had a clearer premise than his previous work. For me, this book was more practical and pointed then the other book; maybe it was because the discussed items directly impact me. It may be that this book being more directed at economics and AI whereas the previous book was covering a broader set of material.
Once you have been exposed to the information in this book, it is hard to ignore that the rise of AI (not like in the Terminator movies) is all around us and it has been growing more and more over the decades. In some cases, so subtle that we do not even see it happening until you take a look outside from this perspective. Think of ATM machines, self-checkout systems, online shopping, etc. During my reading of this book, I was often startled at the many news articles that touched on the topic in one or more ways. Not even the lonely sheepdog is safe as a company recently released a robot sheepdog. What next.
Some of the topics he addresses involve: the removal of the entire workforce, the differences between jobs and work; or fulfillment. Can you imagine a world or society that is not focused on earning money, but instead seeing their desires and goals? A non-capitalistic economy that is more socialistic in understanding, but one where work is no longer needed? What about UBI (Universal Basic Income). Don’t let discussion of economic contraction or distribution scare you off from reading this book as the author does a great job of informing you of what these are and why they are important. The author also takes a small dive into some of the latest technology that may assist in this model of economy such as Bitcoin and more specifically the Block Chain itself being a decentralized means of keeping an ledger.
I will say that the Author did not duplicate much of the work between the two books, and although overlap would have been fine to make his points, this was often stated up front for any duplicated sections. I also liked that the author seemed to use more third-party references and material in this book from his earlier one. Many of the issues I outlined in my review of the author’s older book were addressed in this one.
What I enjoyed:
* The author challenged me to think through the material and comes to one of three conclusions. 1. It is nothing to worry about, 2. It is something to be greatly worried about, or 3. Continue to stick my head in the sand and ignore the subject. I believe all who read this book will at least have to wrestle with one or more of these outcomes.
* The author covered a section on AI and open-source. This section was well done and like many of the other, kept me thinking about all the options.
What I did not like:
* The book only has 11 chapters with three of the chapters being 3-4 times longer than the others. Not a big issue for some, but I like to read a chapter to completion before closing the book, and this one has a few chapters that were just too long. With that said, I will say it was a welcomed surprise to have end of chapter summaries provided; this was helpful for me.
Mr. Hempel, like with his other book narration "Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence", was a pleasure to listen to and I believe he did a very good job or taking material that may be more monotone in nature and made it enjoyable to listen too. Although there were periods of voice change based on getting the author’s point across, this did not seem forced or out of place. I would listen to other material narrated by this person.
It I were to subtitle the book, I would say it is "a topic no one can ignore"
Disclaimer: This book was provided to the reader by the author, narrator, or publisher free of charge in exchange for a non-biased review.
basically a book report on current events in the AI space, disappointing if you're already up to speed on the topic in general
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